A Rose by Any Other Name?

Image: Rose by Alan Jones

This year the Sunday after Christmas falls on New Year’s Day – a day dedicated to the Holy Name of Jesus. When the two major public holidays of the year – Christmas and New Year’s Day coincide with Sunday religious observance, I thought it best to scale back to a single service today. Call me a realist if you like. But having only one spoken service on New Year’s Day gives a necessary break for our wonderful church musicians.

In the media we are being treated to endless reflections on the year-gone-by, but today I want to review a more focused timeframe with you – that of the week falling between Christmas and New Year’s Days.

The Calendar for the week following Christmas Day is – unfortunately – crammed full of commemorations. On the 26th the Calendar commemorated St Stephen, first Christian martyr. I feel so sorry for churches like our near neighbor, Smoky Steve’s whose patron saint is St Stephen because I guess the day after the Christmas highs is not the best time to hold your patronal festival. Churches dedicated to St John, Apostle, and Evangelist fare little better with December 27th being his commemoration.

On December 28 the Calendar commemorated Holy Innocents, as the massacre of Bethlehem’s male infants born around the time of the birth of Jesus. I’m in mind of Marcus Borg’s throwaway line that the Bible is true and some of it actually happened. The corollary of this is that many events in the Bible are not historical but symbolic or metaphorical. Josephus, the most reliable Jewish historian of the 1st-century makes no mention of this infanticide despite amply chronicling Herod’s extensive abuses of power.

The massacre of Bethlehem’s boys aged one and under is part of Matthew’s dramatic account of the context in which the birth of Jesus took place – a context of political violence and instability. Herod the Great, alerted by the Magi’s search for the birth of Isaiah’s prophesied king is determined to snuff out all possible rivals. Matthew tells us that Joseph being warned in a dream, takes Mary and Jesus, and immediately flees to Egypt for safety.

The Incarnation celebrates the Creator’s entry within the tent of creation through the precariousness of a human birth. To celebrate this great festival with any integrity requires us to struggle with the deep human pain of the refugee crisis even though no satisfactory solution seems in sight.

In my Christmas Eve Sermon, I drew on the Matthew account with a particular reference to the Holy Family’s flight on the refugee road to safety in Egypt because I wanted to counteract our treatment of Jesus’ birth as a delightful, if imaginary, fairy story. The birth narrative details matter much less than the significance to which they point. To highlight the refugee element in Matthew’s story concerning the Holy Family’s flight functions as a challenge to our humanity in the face of an unprecedented world-wide migration and refugee crises. The Incarnation celebrates the Creator’s entry within the tent of creation – made visible in the precariousness of a human birth. To celebrate this great festival with any integrity requires us to struggle with the deep human pain of the refugee crisis even though no satisfactory solution seems in sight – well no satisfactory solution, enough of us, can agree upon.

Is this not the function of religious story – to alert us to what remains uncomfortably yet profoundly true to our human experience?

Matthew and Luke’s stories of Jesus’ birth function on several levels but chiefly, they function as good drama. As good drama, they construct details to reveal a profoundly truthful picture of the world. The construction of the massacre of the innocents is the way Matthew connects the birth of Jesus with Moses’ birth recorded in Exodus 2. Like Moses, Jesus also survives a threat to his infant life. For Matthew this connection is significant. For Moses is Matthew’s template for the Messiah Jesus. Jesus, like Moses, is the savior of his people.

On Thursday, December 29, the Calendar takes a particular English turn with the commemoration of St Thomas-a-Beckett, Henry II’s former chancellor and enabler turned archbishop and chief critic. In the year 1170, acting on the king’s mafia-like, unspoken yet strongly hinted at suggestion, three knights took it upon themselves to murder the archbishop on the steps of the high altar in Canterbury Cathedral – thus silencing the king’s most vociferous critic. It’s a story many will be familiar with having been immortalized by T.S Elliot in his play Murder in the Cathedral.

We arrive at the first Sunday following Christmas Day, which in 2023 is also New Year’s Day. In other years, on the first Sunday after Christmas, the Calendar gives a gospel proclamation from the Prologue of John’s Gospel – in the beginning was the Word etc. This year, New Year’s Day is actually the eighth day after Jesus’ birth. On the eighth day the Calendar commemorates the Holy Name of Jesus.

I do not recall ever having preached on the Holy Name in 38 years of ministry because Holy Name usually falls on a weekday and so for Episcopalians, like most weekday commemorations, it goes unnoticed except by a very few. The commemoration of the Holy Name records Jesus’ circumcision on the eighth day following his birth as according to Jewish custom.

Circumcision presented a major conflict between the early Jewish and gentile followers of Jesus. The issue was finally settled at the Council of Jerusalem where Paul persuaded the other Apostles to lift the circumcision requirement on gentile male converts. As a result, the Church was ambivalent about commemorating so Jewish a practice in the life of Jesus. Instead it chose to focus on the naming element of the circumcision ritual – as a commemoration of the eighth day after his birth.

Matthew does not record Jesus’ circumcision – being the most Jewish of the gospels I guess he assumed it as a matter of course and so felt no need to mention it. Recording the event of the circumcision falls to the ethnically ambiguous Luke. Luke’s ethnicity remains contested. Was he a gentile or more likely, was he a highly Hellenized Jew?  Either way, Luke writes for a gentile readership for whom it seems important enough to Luke to remind them of Jesus’ Jewish cultural identity.

What’s in a name? Shakespeare has Juliette in the famous balcony scene exclaim A rose by any other name would smell as sweet – to argue that names do not affect the way things really are. Juliet compares Romeo to a rose saying that if he were not named Romeo he would still be handsome and be Juliet’s love. This states that if he were not Romeo, then he would not be a Montague and she would be able to marry him without hindrance.

I wonder though about Juliet’s desire to believe that a name does not denote anything essential in the real world. Most cultures treat names as things of the essence of personhood. Either a name is the mystical expression of our personhood, or being given such and such a name, dictates and subsequently molds us into the persons we become.

Modernity follows Juliet’s reasoning. Remember Shakespeare is the greatest English wordsmith of the early modern period. The words he gives Juliet prefigure modernity’s view that names do not reflect anything real or of the essence about a person.

Many of us feel free to change our names at will – an action unthinkable in traditional societies. Yet, why would we want to change our name – unless we felt it a poor fit with who we feel ourselves to be? Most of us would find it hard to seriously imagine being called by any other given name. For me, I am a Mark. Mark is part of my identity, and I could not seriously contemplate being called by any other name. Robert is my other given name- what we call my middle name. But Robert is a family name. It’s not personal to me. It was the name in various combinations given to all the males in my paternal family line. I say was, because being the only childless son – the practice dies out with me. Yet, I know of people who have reversed the order of their given names because having been given a family name as their first name, they adopt their middle name to express their essential individuality.

Yet, why would we want to change our name – unless we felt it a poor fit with who we feel ourselves to be?

Luke records that after eight days had passed, Jesus was circumcised and given the name mandated by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. That’s Luke code for the name God gave to Jesus. And here we come to the main point about names being and expression of unique personhood. It’s important for us to remember that Jesus is the Greek iteration of the Hebrew name Yeshua, which means YHWH saves. Yeshua – savior is the clearest statement we have as to who Jesus was born to be. Just to ram the point home, the early Christians tagged onto Yeshua or Jesus another name, Christos in the Greek or Mashiac in Hebrew – meaning Messiah.

Yeshua is not simply the one who was prophesied would save his people – YHWH saves. For Christians Yeshua is also the Christ – the one who came to save not only his Jewish people, but all humankind.

It’s hard to disagree with Shakespeare but in this instance I think we must. Names matter! A rose by any other name may well smell just as sweet – but would it still be a rose?

And It Came Upon A Midnight Clear

Photo courtesy of Al Jazeera

It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth,
To touch their harps of gold;
“Peace on the earth, good will to men,
From Heav’n’s all-gracious King.”
The world in solemn stillness lay,
To hear the angels sing.

On Christmas eve what have we come to see, what are we looking for? For many of us we’ve come to indulge in a bit of whimsy –for an hour or so to participate in the reenactment of a fairy story. Why do we come? We come because stories – fairy – or otherwise matter. We are storied beings, and this story is about God with us.

Many of us fear that our culture no longer understands the nuanced p ower of story.  Stories are things we tell our children as an entertainment before they absorb a scientific simplified picture of the universe. Thus, we fail to see just how much our experience of reality is still story-shaped because we easily forget that we are storied beings. So, the important question concerns which stories are shaping us? The wrong stories – stories that support domination are as Ukraine is witness to – dangerous stories.

In one Peanuts cartoon, Lucy complains to Linus that she doesn’t want opinions, she wants answers – to which Linus asks her if true or false would be alright?

Like Lucy, we love to reduce life’s complexities to a series of true or false answers.  But the best stories are never simply true or false. Instead, we might better ask – is this story effective or not? How complete or incomplete a description of experience is it? Is it expansive or restrictive – inclusive or exclusionary? Stories that are more complete, more expansive, more inclusionary are more effective than stories that restrict human experience, imprisoning us in definitions of identity and worldview that are too small and cramped to allow us to flourish.

For Christians, the birth narratives told by Matthew and Luke are stories that create meaning and a sense of purpose – from which flow our actions that shape the way we are in the world.

When it comes to the story of the birth of Jesus it’s impossible to banish Luke’s version we heard tonight from our minds. The props and cast of Luke’s story mean we now can’t think of the Christmas story without the mental images of a ruined stable, bestrewed with straw; with grazing sheep, lowing cattle, incredulous shepherd yokels, and an angel or two singing: glory to God in the highest and peace among all people on earth.

On Christmas Eve is this the story we’ve come to hear, and to for brief moment reflect upon, even though many of us still fall into the trap of wondering if it’s true or not. Many people today, among them many Christians, question the truth of the Jesus birth stories. N.T. Wright asks – if someone was going to invent a story of the Creator becoming one with all of creation, why on earth would you write it this way? If you wanted to make a convincing case for the Creator’s entry within the tent of creation, you probably would write a more historically persuasive story from the ones we have from Luke and Matthew.

I suggest that perhaps what appears to the modern mind as highly improbable, might just conceivably be, the best evidence for its authenticity.

Luke, and much less so Matthew, offer accounts of enchantment. But the modern mind is suspicious of enchantment. For us, truth emerges only after we’ve edited out all elements of enchantment. We prefer the cold hard facts of a disenchanted view of things. It’s the facts, ma’am, just the facts. As Dragnet’s Sgt. Joe Friday reminds us, only the facts matter. Or that seem to matter.

I say seem to matter because while our modern minds reject stories of enchantment – after all that’s why we call them fairy stories – we crave a steady diet of enchantment through the books we read, the TV dramas and the films we devour. We’ve banished the elements of enchantment from our intellectual diet, only to find ourselves surreptitiously binging on enchantment as entertainment.

Still through the cloven skies they come
With peaceful wings unfurled,
And still their heav’nly music floats
O’er all the weary world;
Above its sad and lowly plains,
They bend on hov’ring wing,
And ever o’er its Babel sounds
The blessed angels sing.

There’s Luke’s story – a story with universal appeal – and then we also have Matthew’s story. Last Sunday in How did Joseph really feel?, I offered a somewhat controversial take on Matthew’s Jesus birth story. I have to say I’ve received more feedback than usual from this sermon – for which I am thankful. It seems we pay attention only when we’re jolted into listening.

Yet with the woes of sin and strife
The world has suffered long;
Beneath the angel strain have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong;
And man, at war with man, hears not
The love-song which they bring;
Oh, hush the noise, ye men of strife
And hear the angels sing.

Matthew sets his account of the birth of Jesus within a context of insecurity, danger and violence – which in all its implied horror – is so utterly familiar to us today. His is a story set in a context of political tyranny and ruthless dynastic violence. His is a story of flight from violence, the perils of refugee existence. No sooner born, the Christ child must be protected from the threat of imminent death by his parents seeking political refuge.

Joseph and his young family probably fled southwest from Bethlehem – along a well-trodden route – crossing into Egypt at the narrow Isthmus of al Qantara. They would have followed the refugee road taken by Abraham (Gen 12:10), Jacob and his sons and a long list of unnamed others before them. After murdering every year-old male child in the region of Bethlehem in an attempt to catch the infant Christ in his infanticidal net, it’s unlikely that Herod would have been content to let them quietly slip away. After arrival in Egypt, how many times did the family have to move to escape his spies?

Joseph, Mary, and Jesus remained in Egypt for about 2-years – the time estimated between Jesus’ birth and the death of Herod the Great. Matthew does not provide us with this level of detail, but the point to note is that his narrative sets the birth of Jesus in the borderlands. It’s possible to read into Matthew’s narrative the borderland as not simply a place separating danger from safety, but also as a metaphor dividing Israel’s past trauma from its future hope – the separation between fear and hope. As we are daily called to witness events on our Southern border, borders are places where fear and hope collide.

Today it’s estimated that upwards of 300 million men, women, and children are travelling on the refugee highways and byways, over back roads, and through barely passable jungle tracks, over mountain ranges and across seering deserts.  In the last year the US has accepted a million refugees – and we still don’t have enough people to fill the jobs in crucial sectors of the economy.

Despite Matthew’s more patriarchal tone (it’s all about Joseph and Mary is just wallpaper) sounding in our modern ears – it is Matthew’s setting for the birth of Jesus that carries an uncomfortable power to confront us. The question remains –this Christmas Eve why have we come, what are we looking for? Can I suggest we’ve come to find Emmanu-El, God with us.

And ye, beneath life’s crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow,
Look now! for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing.
Oh, rest beside the weary road,
And hear the angels sing!
I came upon a midnight clear- Edward H Sears

Matthew’s is a story that can only discomfort us. It leaves us with an uncomfortable suspicion. We constantly push awareness of refugee plight to the back of our minds – averting our gaze, or spouting copious facts to explain it all away. We harbor an uncomfortable suspicion that perhaps it’s among the crowds of mothers and fathers wearing only the clothes on their backs, carrying infants in their arms, toddler and older children clinging to their legs with tear-stained cheeks and fear in their eyes – patiently waiting on Mexico’s side of our border fence -that this is what Emmanu-El -God with us looks like– a God who is to be found on any border or boundary fence where fear and hope collide.

How did Joseph really feel?

Image: The dream of St Joseph. Bernardino (Bernardino de Scapis) Luini (c.1480-1532)

Advent IV’s gospel spiritual panorama opens upon Matthew’s version of the events leading to the birth of Jesus. For most of us, our sense of the nativity narrative emerges from merging Luke and Matthew together to give us the typical manger scene depicted in countless churches and nativity plays. In doing so we miss the significance of each Evangelists distinctive and strikingly different portrayal of events surrounding Jesus’ birth.

Luke’s focus is on Mary, his birth narrative is Mary’s story – depicting a birth taking place in primitive farmyard conditions surrounded by sheep and cattle and witnessed by common shepherds – representative of those on the margins of society – and of course let’s not forget the angels.

Matthew’s version of events gives us Joseph’s story – the story of Jesus’ birth told from Joseph’s perspective -no manger, no shepherds, no cattle or sheep – a birth witnessed not by common people but by foreign emissaries in the persons of three Magi – representatives of the wider world’s homage to the infant king of the Jews. Matthew’s angel appears not to Mary as in Luke’s account, but to Joseph in a dream.

Having located Jesus’ identity within the long genealogy stretching back through Jewish mythological time to Abraham, Matthew’s intensely Jewish story places the birth of Jesus within the turbulent political context of 1st-century Palestine. Here we have all the ingredients for a tense political drama – a brutal ruler in Herod the Great – the puppet of Roman occupation, whose murderous intent drives the Holy Family into exile as political asylum seekers. The Holy Family escapes, but every other year-old male child born in the region of Bethlehem is slaughtered as Herod, alerted by the indiscretion of the Magi, endeavors to neutralize Isaiah’s prophecy of the birth of a rival king.

Matthew’s is a rich narrative, one that sets the birth of Jesus within a political context completely familiar to us today in a world where literally millions of fathers and mothers with young children are daily forced to undertake the perils and dangers as refugees escaping in fear for their lives. Perhaps the greater significance to be drawn from Matthew’s birth narrative lies in an exploration of the political and humanitarian themes buried within his version of events – perhaps a fruitful exploration for a Christmas Eve sermon.

Matthew’s is an approach to the Jesus story very much from within the perspective of the Jewish patriarchal world view of the men-in-charge. I think my unease with this feature of his approach is quite personal. As a gay man I learned early to fear the power of the patriarchy and to be deeply suspicious of the presentation of scripture through the exclusive lens of the men-in-change – in whose worldview there was no place for someone like me.

Richard Swanson is – at least to my way of thinking – a delightfully provocative biblical commentator who never misses an opportunity to take the patriarchal voice – that is – the traditional interpretation of scripture from the restrictive perspective of the men-in-charge – down a peg or two. Swanson coins the delicious phrase Holy Baritones to describe scripture’s patriarchal voice. My not infrequent uneasiness with Matthew’s voice is that at times he seems to me to epitomize the role of section leader in the Holy Baritone chorus.

Matthew, having spent the first 17 verses in his 25 verse first chapter establishing Jesus’ identity at the heart of Jewish patriarchal transmission, finally gets around to telling us about Jesus’ birth at verse 18 – by announcing to us that:

When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child.

In a society with strictly no sex before marriage – a central convention in all patriarchal societies – Matthew chooses to introduce the birth of Jesus by telling us that Mary was found to be with child.

Was found to be is a grammatical structure known as the divine passive. It’s a way of telling us that so and so happened while obscuring causality. For the Hebrew writers it was a way of showing that something had happened by the hand of God without referring to the name that could not be written or uttered. Matthew does make clear that the hidden hand of action in Mary’s pregnancy is God’s. But unlike Luke’s portrayal of a direct encounter between Mary and Gabriel leaving Mary with the chief agency in her decision making – the thrust of Matthew’s narrative is that Mary’s pregnancy has been discovered i.e., shamefully exposed – but we are not told by whom. Matthew clearly sees Mary as having no agency, reserving all agency in decisions to Joseph.

Matthew presents Joseph in a predicament. His reputation through no fault of his own is endangered by this turn of events. His solution is to become resolved to quietly break off the engagement. Ah, what a mensch! But here’s my problem with Matthew’s Joseph-focused version of events. In a religious society with draconian laws against sex before marriage, the risk of public disgrace relates not to Mary’s but rather, to Joseph’s predicament. His, is the fear of being publicly disgraced. Why do I conclude this? Because if the truth got out the risk to Mary was not public disgrace but being stoned to death – in the first instance by her father – and if he could not bring himself to do the deed then by another male relative – an uncle, or brother, or male cousin conveniently waiting in the wings. The reality of honor killing is a nasty detail that the Holy Baritone voice skips over by silence.

So how is Joseph to be extricated from the prospect of public disgrace? Matthew rescues Joseph through an angel appearing to him in a dream – telling him not to be afraid. Afraid of what we might ask – if not reputational disgrace. The angel instructs Joseph to go through with the marriage because it’s really God who has caused Mary’s pregnancy. On waking, Joseph, with his mind now reassured against his fear of social opprobrium, does as the angel had commanded him.

We might expect Matthew to end his chapter here. Joseph the mensch, rescues his betrothed from calamity by marrying her. But as cheerleader for the Holy Baritone voice Matthew is not done yet. He rather tellingly – to my mind at least – mentions that while Joseph married Mary, he declined to consummate the marriage until after the [troublesome?] child was born.

Why does Matthew feel the need to tell us this? Well, one of the pervading themes of the Holy Baritone voice is an over preoccupation with genital penetration. Inappropriate penetration – that is – who puts what where – provokes the patriarchal fear of spiritual contamination. As today’s conservative obsession with the restriction of women’s reproductive and homosexual and transgender rights continues to demonstrate –this preoccupation continues a story older than time.

Let’s listen again to Matthew’s voice:

When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and named him Jesus.

Although Joseph did as he was commanded, I wonder how he really felt?

For whom do we wait?

Advent is a time that refocuses us spiritually on the thorny experience of hope. While hope is a universal trait of the human spirit, its thorniness lies in the way hope raises both expectation and fear of disappointment.

I cannot reflect on hope and the nature of expectation without hearing the voice of my fatalistic grandmother saying don’t hope- never be disappointed. I think we all instinctively know what she means. To hope is to risk wanting – and wanting raises the possibility of disappointment. But my grandmother’s expression, while it captures our fear of risk, nonetheless misses the essential point about hope. Hope is not primarily – a picture of a longed-for future – realizable or not. Hope is the compass setting that establishes a direction of travel in the present.

Hope is the compass setting that establishes a direction of travel in the present.

You see, hope is not a future dream – although we often think of hope in this way. Hope is a vision for a desired future but the purpose of hoping is to reorient ourselves in the present through future expectation. Don’t hope -never be disappointed is not simply a protection against future disappointment. It’s a severe limitation on present time action and future possibility.

We are the ones we have been waiting for is a saying the origin of which has multiple attributions. We are the ones we have been waiting for is however the title of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize winning book in which she comments that:

We are the ones we have been waiting for because we live in an age in which we are able to see and understand our own predicament. With so much greater awareness than our ancestors – and with such capacity for insight, knowledge, and empathy – we are uniquely prepared to create positive change within ourselves and our world.

We are the ones we’ve been waiting for was a phrase that Barack Obama borrowed – not to indicate that he or his administration were necessarily the ones desperately awaited – but that present generations of our society have the potential to really change American society’s direction of travel towards an – as yet – unrealized future. At the everyday level of experience we know the truth of this as we live through the chaos and upheaval of a period of momentous change – the kind of change that beckons us towards a future that will be so much more than a repetition of our past.

The shape of our future hope is important but too much dreaming or foreboding about the the future is a distraction. The purpose of hope is not to inhabit the future before it emerges but to focus our attention on the quality of our present time actions – both those we boldly embrace and those we fail to take.

Don’t hope -never be disappointed is not simply a protection against future disappointment it’s a severe limitation on present time possibility. Hope is a lifetime’s work. Advent reminds us that hope also requires courage in a world that often – like my grandmother’s saying – plays up the risk of hope’s disappointment.

The book of Isaiah begins around 740 BCE with the figure known as 1st Isaiah (chapters 1-40). The book concludes with the prophecies of the 3rd Isaiah (chapters 56-66) over two centuries later after the ending of the Babylonian Exile in 515. The combined prophecies of 1st, 2nd (chapters 40-56), and 3rd Isaiah form the mainstay of Advent’s O.T. lessons. In chapter 25, appointed for the 3rd Sunday in Advent we hear 1st Isaiah’s words: Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God.

Where is our God? Our God is here! How do we know God is here? We know because the eyes of the blind shall be opened, the ears of the deaf unstopped; the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy. Isaiah’s hope is ambiguous with regard to time. His use of –shall– is suggestive of future events – but events determined by actions in present time.

If our Advent hope causes us to raise our eyes heavenwards waiting for future divine rescue from the mess we are making of the world – we will miss Advent hope as a present time statement that God is already here – among us – journeying alongside us through the turbulence of the present time.

The Gospels ascribe a prophetic quality of premonition to John the Baptist because we prefer to view prophets as visionaries of future time. But the prophet speaks first and foremost into present time – no matter how future oriented his words. As we all know, the present time fear of disappointment plays havoc with our expectations. And so we see in Matthew 11 that even the legendary John the Baptist is subject to the fear of disappointed expectation. John – languishing in Herod’s prison – has become anxious because Jesus seems not to be fulfilling his expectations. The doubt arises in his mind – maybe he’d got it wrong and Jesus is not the promised one – afterall. So he sends his disciples to enquire of Jesus – are you the one or are we to wait for another?

Jesus quotes Isaiah 25 back to John telling John’s disciples to go tell him what you hear and see! The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear – and just to up the ante he adds – the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. Here the point not to be missed is that Jesus takes Isaiah’s words – couched as future hope – and renders them a description of present time reality.

The point of future hope lies in the beginning of its realization in the present.

We are the ones we have been waiting for focuses our attention firmly on the present time in which hope is not a future dream but a present-time activity. Of course, there is a hidden irony here. Our usual Advent question: what are we waiting for and why are we still waiting? – is not perhaps the question after all.

The great 20th-century theologian Paul Tillich wrote:

The power of that for which we wait is already effective within us. Those who wait in an ultimate sense are not that far from that for which they wait.

On the 3rd Sunday in Advent – what are we waiting for becomes who are we waiting for? Allowing for an appropriate sense of humility, if we are not to be the ones we have been waiting for – then who will be?

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑